Tusk is marking its 30th anniversary in a very difficult year for our planet. My thoughts go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.This pandemic is both a public-health emergency and an economic crisis. Rightly, our immediate focus must be on saving lives and protecting livelihoods around the world. But as the global picture emerges, it is very worrying to see the huge impact the pandemic is having on conservation.Decades of conservation progress in Africa are at risk. There are real fears that the economic crisis and redundancies resulting from the pandemic will lead to a sharp rise in poaching for bush meat with criminals seeking to exploit the illegal wildlife trade while wildlife enforcement’s resources are stretched. Tusk’s work on the ground has therefore never been more important. To safeguard our conservation gains, we must ensure that African conservationists can hold the line and maintain their work in anti-poaching, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, species protection and habitat restoration that is so vital to Africa’s economy, people and wildlife.Conservationists have been speaking out for many years about the threats posed by the illegal wildlife trade, but never before have the possible public health risks come into such sharp focus. So now is the time to act. We must redouble our efforts to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, close illegal and unregulated trade, raise public awareness and work in collaboration to strengthen laws and increase penalties. We must seize this moment to end the illegal wildlife trade for good, both to protect our precious wildlife, and to protect communities all around the world.Conservationists in Africa need all the help they can get to grapple with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. I am reassured to know that Tusk will continue to be there to provide that support, as they have done so expertly for the last 30 years. No organisation is better placed than Tusk to lead the charge and support Africa’s conservationists on the road to recovery.I am immensely proud of what Tusk has achieved in its 30 year history and I pay tribute to the energy and commitment of its team and the charity’s partners on the ground. Please continue to support this remarkable charity and its vital work. Thank you for making a real difference, especially at this time when your support is needed the most.
Writing as Royal Patron of Tusk, The Duke urged a redoubling of efforts to tackle demand for wildlife products, raise public awareness and increase collaboration on the conservation frontline, and has issued a call to arms to end the illegal wildlife trade for good.
The Duke’s comments are published as foreword to the charity’s 2020 edition of Tusk Talk, our annual progress report. Highlighting our partners’ efforts on the ground and the role your extraordinary support plays in African conservation, the publication can be viewed in full here.
The Duke said:
Our Crisis Appeal is raising funds to ensure that vital Tusk funded programmes are able to survive the extreme challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis. Please help us by donating what you can to protect the jobs and livelihoods of those on the frontline and ensure they can continue their critical work.